DePaul University > About > Administration > John Culbert, MFA

  • John Culbert, MFA

    Dean, The Theatre School


An award-winning designer of scenery and lighting, John Culbert, MFA, was named dean of The Theatre School on July 1, 2001. Founded as the Goodman School of Drama in 1925, The Theatre School is the Midwest’s oldest theatre conservatory and is recognized nationally as one of the top conservatory programs in the United States. Using a highly disciplined learn-by-doing format, the competitive programs train students by producing more than 200 public performances each season.

Culbert has left his mark across Chicago, designing lighting for the Buckingham Fountain, Garfield Conservatory, Field Museum of Natural History and the Chicago Park District.

Theatre-goers will recognize his lighting and scenery work from productions at the Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre and more than 30 productions at the Court Theatre. He has received several Joseph Jefferson nominations and a Jeff Award for “The Triumph of Love” at Court Theatre.

Outside of Chicago, Culbert has designed scenery and/or lighting for the Opera Theater of St. Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera National du Rhin, Colorado Opera Festival, McCarter Theatre, Hartford Stage, Southern Repertory, Cleveland Orchestra and Bristol Riverside Theatre.

He first came to DePaul in 1988 as an assistant professor and the head of The Theatre School’s lighting design program. In 1992, he was promoted to associate professor and chaired the design/technology program from 1992 to 1998. He was promoted to full professor in 1995, appointed associate dean in 1998 and named acting dean in July of 2000.

At The Theatre School he has designed productions of “The Misanthrope,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “The Women,” “The Snow Queen,” “Rip Van Winkle” and “Stage Door.”